From time to time I am extraordinarily flattered to receive personal emails in reply to our regular monthly newsletters. If you are one of our newsletter subscribers (Subscribe here, if you haven’t already), you will already know that we work hard to fill them with juicy, interesting information based on musical interests, stories about the organ playing community, news affecting our love of music, and of course some occasional customer stories about our own work and digital instruments.
Very recently I was really delighted to receive quite a lengthy email from a customer, together with a recording of him playing his Viscount Chorum 40-S, one of our most popular home instruments. I cannot help but share it with you, our blog readers.
Graham Twist, our customer, has written and performed Marcia della Corona (an ode to the virus that has knocked so many musicians off their proverbial chairs). He is busy now preparing the manuscript using Sibelius. You can see the first page of the score below and listen to Graham playing his piece on the audio track.
Challenge you to submit your own compositions
So here’s the idea which occurred to Graham and why he got in contact. Why not challenge some of our more able musicians out there, and of course, not limited to Viscount instrument owners, to submit their compositions in recognition of the coronavirus time we live in?
Graham’s work has a robust tempo, interesting harmonic changes and at times a dark tone which captures, rather well, a sense of what the virus does.
I am sure though that you, my dear blog reader, will have equally interesting interpretations so why not record them and send them into us here at Viscount Organs or share them on social media and use the hashtag #coronamusic?
Make sure that you post a comment below with a link to your post/tweet/Facebook update (keep public) for us all to see. I’m happy for you to tag our Facebook Page or Twitter handle as well and I can share it with our audiences.
A very nice customer testimonial
Another consequence of these strained times I am seeing is a rather large reluctance for customers to want to risk a visit to the showroom and more buying decisions than ever before are being made on recommendation rather than experience.
I hope therefore you will not mind me quoting a part of Grahams emails with his thoughts on the Chorum instrument. If you can not visit now to find out for yourself there has never been a more important time to draw on the opinions of others who already have the luxury of a home instrument.
Here is Graham’s emailed letter he sent through to me in June 2020:
Thank you for the May edition of your newsletter – always interesting and a pleasure to read, especially in ‘lockdown’!
Although I bought my Chorum 40S from Promenade Music, Morecambe, in November 2017, I did acquire a CM100 Accupipe Module from Holland in 2018 and it was through your Bicester office address that I first made contact to order some stop tabs for that module and I received helpful and excellent service from your team. That is why I am on your mailing list.
I live just outside Yarm, but have so far not been able to hear the organ that Viscount was commissioned to build for Yarm School (though the specification looks very impressive and I have been in the theatre and seen the console). Like you, I am a very enthusiastic Viscount fan. I semi-retired from teaching in 2015 (but not from music!) and was looking at that time to rekindle my passion for all things organ after a 35+ year break from playing. I looked at various options, including Hauptwerk, but was really sold on the Chorum range when I tried one out in Morecambe in 2017.
You will not be surprised to know that I have been totally satisfied with my purchase. The 40S still offers fantastic value for money in terms of specification, build quality and compact size. Of course, like all organists, I wanted more stops (!) but the 40S was as far as my budget would stretch at the time. When I saw an opportunity to buy an inexpensive second-hand CM100 module twelve months later, I ordered it from Holland and it has been a most welcome addition to an organ that was complete in its own right, but is now enhanced with all the additional registration options I have on offer from (presumably) the precursor to the more sophisticated Physis technology based organs available from Viscount.
I remember (with a wry smile on my face) believing in my teens and twenties that nothing in the electronic market would ever come close to a real pipe organ. And real pipes still remain the king of all instruments . . . but how technology has advanced over the years and how ears can be much more easily ‘persuaded’ that they are hearing pipes sing when in reality it is the recording or modelling of pipes that are being heard. In my advancing years, I am so glad to have been proved wrong!
So although I remain a very amateur organist and my playing with somewhat less responsive arthritic fingers is no longer for general congregational consumption, I get to play now entirely for my own pleasure wrapped in headphones and lost in the many majestic artificial spaces in which my Chorum 40S can be played.
Having been like many other citizens more house-bound than usual due to Covid-19, I have been able to ‘toy’ with some (not very original or noteworthy) compositions. Flowing from my stiffening fingers have come some ‘musical’ ideas that have shaped into pieces that would not have been possible without my Chorum 40S.
I have decided to title one particular composition with a nod to the good Italian folk at Viscount and, as this piece has its origins in the ‘lockdown’, I have settled on “Impromptu – Marcia della Corona”! I hope Marcia della Corona brings a smile to your face knowing that it is a ‘musical’ joke to put the virus in its place and despite several minor keys in which the ‘theme’ tries to exert itself, the move to the major is always a reminder that human beings will conquer all adversity (even if not the adversity of inadequate playing!).
Perhaps you could invite others in the forum who love all things Viscount to create their own (and better!) musical obituaries to the corona virus?
Good luck with re-opening your showroom and may your business go from strength to strength: Viscount Organs has earned and deserves its success and you are the company’s great champion in the UK.
With all best wishes,
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Viscount Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.